A crowd of 11,784 fans showed up at the first-ever boxing event at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit to watch undisputed middleweight world champion Claressa “G.W.O.A.T.” Shields secure a clear-cut 10-round unanimous decision over No. 1 rated contender Maricela Cornejo of Los Angeles.
Shields tried for the elusive knockout, swinging several attempted homerun shots, many of which landed. But Cornejo’s was able to take the punches.
The scores were 100-90, 100-90 and 100-89. With the victory, Shields retains her WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO and WBF middleweight championships.
“I feel great,” said Shields post-victory. “I was landing my shots. I won every round like I knew I could. I went for the knockout how many times this fight? Maricela is tough. She did a great job. Height doesn’t matter and power doesn’t matter either. It’s all about the skills and will and heart, and I always have more than the other girls.”
Shields said her game plan worked to perfection, but still added room for improvement.
"Stay smart and not get hit with her big right hand,” she said of her strategy. “Hit bigger to the body and check her to the head. I knew I could win. Straight right for the money. When I would hit her harder, she would take off. I led off with the right too many times, so I will work on that when we get back to the gym. Maricela is super tough. She was in shape and able to take the shots and able to get away from them. It was a great fight. I can’t wait to go home and watch it and see what I can work on."
A dejected Cornejo, who was hoping to pull off the upset, said she’s looking forward to continuing her improvements and fighting another day.
“I'm good. I felt fine,” Cornejo said. “Obviously there is so much more I could work on. I want to see the fight again and see the mistakes that I’ve done just to improve on. I think I held my ground and I know I caught her with some good shots and I just need to work on much more to be able to continue those rights I know I landed on her.
"I’m not happy with the loss, I’m just disappointed,” she continued. “I need to just watch it. It’s intense the way she comes forward. I would have done better being more assertive going forward and not going straight back. That’s something I’ve worked on a lot."